Super Size Me

Review Date:
Director: Morgan Spurlock
Writer: Morgan Spurlock
Producers: J.R. Morley, Heather Winters
Morgan Spurlock
Dr. Daryl Isaacs
Ronald McDonald
A documentary in which the filmmaker decides to put his healthy body to the test by eating nothing but McDonald’s meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for 30 days straight. The idea was to see how this sort of ridiculous diet of “junk food” would affect his system. The results are staggering, along with everything else in this engrossing look at the problem of obesity in America.
Fascinating. I used to deflect documentary screenings a few years back, only because I’d never believed them to be particularly interesting, pertinent or entertaining, but I don’t know if it’s a shift in the industry, the introduction of more dynamic documentarians or just an overall upgrade in the quality of the films themselves, but I’ve recently become a major fan, with films like STARTUP.COM, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE and SPELLBOUND, making me look forward to even more insightful and enjoyable additions. I’m one of those people who can enjoy movies on a number of levels and every now and again, it’s nice to be able to sit down and use the ol’ noggin when watching a film and SUPERSIZE ME is just that kind of movie and more. With enough statistics and interviews with experts to keep you thinking the whole way through, director/star Morgan Spurlock spices the whole thing up with his everyman charm and demeanor (“I think I have McGas”), a number of stylistic choices inserted to keep you visually alert, as well as an array of captivating insights into, not only the filmmaker’s own personal journey/test through the McDonald’s “diet”, but even more importantly, the very serious problem of obesity in the United States.

What I really liked about this film was that it didn’t just provide a million facts and figures, but it also took a closer look at the overall problems like the lack of governmental involvement in the better dieting of its citizens, the preposterous lunches at many of the nation’s high schools (chips and sodas?), the lack of personal responsibility of many people combined with the embarrassing litigious nature of Americans (two chicks sued McDonald’s because they got fat…gimme a break!), as well as the continued lack of care from many of the Nation’s top fast-food companies, who instead of being somewhat upfront about their cuisine, would rather cower behind their billions in profits and not even have the decency to provide men like Spurlock with a friggin’ interview on the subject for his film. I always respected those people who would, at the very least, come out and be interviewed by Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes” because at least they had the balls to stand up for what they were doing. All the McDonalds’ reps did in this film was dick Spurlock around and that’s just plain chickenshit-especially when it involves such an important topic. McFuck you, guys! What’s even more pathetic is that McDonald’s actually 86’d the entire concept of “supersizing” only six weeks after this film’s initial release, but wouldn’t even acknowledge why they really did so (or if it had anything to do with this film), proving once more, that they don’t truly believe in their inherent corporate responsibility when it comes to health in our society.

McDonald’s aside though, this film also concentrates on the bigger picture of the American obesity crisis with a number of staggering facts dissecting its serious nature. I also liked the fact that the film balanced Spurlock’s own personal 30-day diet with the rest of the facts involved in this epidemic, and quite enjoyed his one-on-one conversations with the camera, his binges and his doctors (loved the puking scene…classic!) And how about the “King of Big Macs”? I love this guy! This man claims to eat over 700 Big Macs a year, and yet he’s as slim as my pinky. How does he do it? Spurlock should have queried this guy a little further. On the iffy side, granted, Spurlock’s diet was over-the-top and not something that anyone in their right mind would/should do (he even admits to this in the end, but goes to extremes to highlight his point), his weirdo doctor reminded me of a combination of Bob Hoskins and the medic who reconstructed the Joker’s face in the original BATMAN and as per any other documentary or presentation of facts/figures, it’s important to note that all numbers can be manipulated in many which ways (I have a degree in marketing and was particularly adept at doing this myself). That said, the bottom line is that the overall issue is very real, the scary results from his own test should lead many to question their own eating habits (the man gained 10 pounds in the first week alone!) and the attention brought to this problem throughout this film, should invariably help others to look at this subject matter a little deeper (especially the high school lunchroom folk…get your shit together, people!)

Much like I’ve repeated in terms of Michael Moore’s conscientious films about some of the problems facing the American nation, I admire people like Spurlock because they don’t just sit around and bitch about their peeves, they actually get out there and do something about it! If McDonald’s actually changed their “Super Size” promotions because of something that came out with this movie, you gotta give the film and its makers, a lot of props for that. Obesity has become the 2nd leading preventable killer in the United States behind smoking and continuing to overeat, overdrink and undersleep ain’t resolving anything. Flicks like this, on the other hand, might be a decent starting point for change. Yes, personal responsibility and family guidance are the greater tools behind any sort of major transformation, but that doesn’t mean that companies that continue to serve and consciously manipulate their customers (particularly children) into eating in unhealthy ways, shouldn’t bump the importance of human health a little higher on their own priority lists, as opposed to concentrating solely on their bottom line, productivity and various ways by which they can stick more fat into an ounce of their already-junkie McShits. By the way, am I the only person who had a mad craving to hit the local Mackie Dee’s after seeing this movie? Damn, maybe I was just hungry or something. Anyway, great flick, great points, great man.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian